What Is A Sous Chef?

Commercial kitchens must be effectively organized so that all the required food is successfully prepared. To ensure that kitchens are efficiently managed, there is a hierarchical structure in the kitchen. 

What Is A Sous Chef
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Each member of the kitchen will have a different responsibility. This will include the head chef, commis chef, and kitchen porter. One of the most important positions within the kitchen is the sous chef. 

What does a sous chef do? This guide tells you everything you need to know about this role.

What Is A Sous Chef?

In the hierarchical structure of a professional kitchen, a sous chef has an important role. The sous chef is under the command of the head chef. The official term for this job role is “Sous-chef de Cuisine”, though it is often shortened to simply “sous chef”. 

Essentially, the sous chef helps the head chef by ensuring that their orders are being conducted throughout the kitchen. The primary role of the sous chef is to oversee general daily food preparation. They will have to ensure that the kitchen is being efficiently run.

In terms of the hierarchy of the kitchen, the executive chef is at the very top of the order. Meanwhile, the head chef will be beneath the executive chef and will have to report to them.

Next, the head chef is superior to the sous chef. This chef will then be followed by the various other types of chefs that work in the kitchen.

The word “sous” comes from the French language. It translates to “under”, hinting at the vital position that the sous chef has in the kitchen. Meanwhile, the phrase “Sous-chef de Cuisine” translates to “under-chef of the kitchen”.

What Are The Responsibilities Of A Sous Chef?

The primary responsibility of the sous chef is to supervise the kitchen. This will mean ensuring that the staff is completing their assigned tasks and delegating different tasks. 

An additional role for the sous chef is to plan and cultivate menus. They will need to create new recipes that will appeal to customers. 

Additionally, the sous chef will be responsible for working in different stations within the kitchen. As a result, the sous chef must be versatile and capable of preparing different dishes. 

What Skills Do You Need To Be A Sous Chef?

What Is A Sous Chef
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If you wish to become a sous chef, we recommend that you possess the following skills:

  • Cooking skills: Though this may sound obvious, a sous chef will need to have a passion for cooking. They will need to prepare food of exceptional quality. A special fitness for creating delicious dishes will be essential for this role. 
  • Organization: A kitchen can be a chaotic location. To ensure that the kitchen is effectively managed, organization skills will be a key feature for a sous chef. 
  • Adaptability: Unlike other roles in the kitchen, the responsibilities of the sous chef are extremely varied. They will need to take on different roles and responsibilities within the kitchen, which will require an adaptable individual.  
  • Time-management: To ensure that food is prepared on time, a sous chef will need exceptional time-management skills. This will be especially essential during busy hours. 
  • Communication: As an essential role within the structure of the kitchen, a sous chef will need to effectively communicate with other members of staff. This will include giving constructive feedback to the other cooks. Not to mention, a sous chef will have to successfully communicate with the executive and head chefs. 
  • Leadership skills: Managing the kitchen will require amazing leadership skills. The sous chef will be responsible for leading and managing the kitchen. These individuals will need to help manage the staff members as an effective team.

How Can You Become A Sous Chef?

It can take years to become a sous chef. To start this career, the best path that you can take will involve the following steps:

  1. Finish your school education: there are not many high-school qualifications that will be ready for this career. However, having a high school qualification in catering can be helpful. The main reason why you need to finish high school before becoming a sous chef is that most culinary schools will require a suitable high school diploma.
  2. Attend culinary school: culinary training is an essential step for this career, as you will pick up all of the cooking skills and expertise that you need. For instance, you can enroll in a culinary arts program. This will earn you a relevant qualification, which will look incredibly appealing on your resume.
  3. Look for a job in a kitchen: you can now start looking for a relevant career in a culinary-based environment. When you first become a chef, you will likely need a starting role within the kitchen. You are unlikely to become a sous chef right away, as this role will require experience.
  4. Work your way through the ladder: once you have started to work in a kitchen, you should climb your way up the career ladder. As you obtain more experience, you will be more desirable when applying for a sous chef position.

How Much Does A Sous Chef Earn?

If you are thinking of becoming a sous chef, one of the most important qualities that you will need to consider is how much you will earn.

It’s important to bear in mind that the earning potential of a sous chef will differ depending on your level of experience and skill. More experienced sous chefs will likely earn more money than those with less experience.

On average, a sous chef tends to earn approximately $57,656 per year. On top of this, chefs in this position can earn tips from customers. It’s also important to bear in mind that the wage of a sous chef will differ based on location. 

Final Thoughts

Becoming a sous chef is far from an easy career to pursue. It can be a rather intense career that will require lots of hard work and dedication.

Yet, if you possess the desired skills, qualifications, and passion for cooking, working as a sous chef can be an excellent career for you.

Jason Sullivan
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